10 Major Headlines Our New DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi Has Made Over The Past 2 Years
Brash and straightforward, the newly-appointed Deputy Prime Minister is not without his fair share of attention-grabbing news over the past two years.
1. On 16 May 2013, one day after he was appointed the new Home Minister after the 13th general elections, Zahid Hamidi told Malaysians who were unhappy with the country's political system and GE13 results to leave the country
In an opinion piece published in Malay daily Utusan Malaysia, Zahid wrote, “Malaysia inherited the political system from the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries also use the first past the post system where political parties contesting in the election will only have one representative in each constituency with the principle of a simple majority of votes.
“Opposition leaders particularly PKR and DAP have confused the young Chinese and the politically blind followers to dress in black to protest against the 13th general election results, which they consider is in their favor because of the popular vote.
“If these people wish to adopt the list system or the single transferable vote used by countries with the republic form of government, then they should migrate to these countries to practise their political beliefs.
“Malaysia is not a country to translate their political beliefs, even if they are really loyal to this country, they should accept the political system and the existing system to form a government as enshrined in the Federal Constitution."
2. He openly warned a Malaysiakini journalist to not "play fire" with him and to "write according to journalism ethics" during a press conference held in conjunction with his first day as Home Minister on 20 May 2013
“You (Malaysiakini reporters) always twist statements, in fact too often. You create things which are not there. You better write the real stuff.
“I will monitor every word, every sentence, every paragraph and every news item in Malaysiakini. You don’t play fire with me. You always spin. Please try to write according to journalism ethics, okay?” he said while pointing a finger at a reporter from the news portal at a press conference in conjunction with his first day helming the ministry.
3. In October 2013, he was alleged to have declared a "shoot first" policy for police officers when faced with suspected gang members or criminals. He later clarified that the quote was taken out of context.
“What is the situation of robbery victims, murder victims during shootings? Most of them are our Malays. Most of them are our race,” he was quoted as saying by news portal Malaysiakini, based on a 20-minute audio recording of a speech at a security briefing event with community leaders in Ayer Keroh, Malacca.
“I think the best way is that we no longer compromise with them. There is no need to give them any more warning. If (we) get the evidence, (we) shoot first,” he added, referring to suspected criminals.
"I was referring to what happened in Penang, where five suspected criminals were killed by the police, because according to information obtained from police intelligence revealed that the suspects were armed,” he told in an interview with news channel Astro Awani yesterday.
"Are the police only allowed to defend themselves after they are shot? If that is the case, surely a lot of police will die if they do so," he added.
"What I have stated was the readiness of the police because early information suggests that the criminals must be eradicated. To me, 'shoot first, ask questions later' does not arise. This is a wild statement made by them," Zahid said.
4. He was also reported to have referred to the Tiga Line underworld group as "friends" and even urged them to "do what they need to do". He also threatened journalists who were present that he will close down their newspapers if they reported his statements.
While detailing the government crackdown on underworld figures at a security briefing with community leaders in Ayer Keroh, Malacca on October 5, the home minister reportedly asserted the 6,000-plus Malay members of some gangs should not be lumped in the same category.
“The 6,171 Malays, they are not real thugs (samseng), they were Pekida members and were part of the Tiga Line group, Gang 30, Gang 7 - these are festivities (kenduri-kendara) gangsters,” Zahid was quoted saying by news portal Malaysiakini.
“I tell our Tiga Line friends, do what should be done,” he reportedly added, based on a 20-minute audio recording of the speech.
Tiga Line was one of 49 secret societies the Home Ministry had named as banned in August in a crackdown on violent crimes following several shooting sprees nationwide.
5. In March 2014, Zahid became public enemy number one when the Home Ministry announced a ban on an Ultraman comic book over the use of "Allah" to describe the Japanese superhero
The possibly offending line on the page reads in Bahasa Malaysa: "Beliau dianggap sebagai, dan dihormati sebagai, 'Allah' atau Elder semua wira Ultra."
English translation: He is considered, and respected, as Allah or the Elder to all Ultra heroes.
“In that book, Allah is Ultraman. It insults Muslims,” Ahmad Zahid said.fz.com
6. In November 2014, Zahid revealed that the Home Ministry and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) are setting up a firewall to filter out websites such as YouTube so that Malaysians don't get to watch certain content
The Home Ministry is working with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to set up a firewall on websites, including YouTube, to ensure content which does not adhere to guidelines set by the Film Censorship Board is not viewed by Malaysians.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said it was vital for content on the Internet, including movies, to suit local culture and sensitivity.
“We want to create awareness among the public, specifically film goers, that the censorship board has a social and religious responsibility to ensure movies adhere to set guidelines.”freemalaysiatoday.com
7. Also in November last year, the then Home Minister screened an uncensored version of an ISIS beheading video during an UMNO assembly as a form of "shock therapy" for delegates to unite against terrorist threats
English daily New Straits Times (NST) quoted the Umno vice-president as saying that the video will serve as a “warning” to the Umno delegates of a possible future for the country should they fail to unite against the threat.themalaymailonline.com
Ahmad Zahid reportedly said that the “shock therapy” was needed to show that the threat posed by the IS was real, and not imagined. “If we do not unite, this could happen here. The threat is real. If they can kill Muslims, they can also kill non-Muslims,” the New Straits Times quoted him as saying.therakyatpost.com
8. In June 2015, he announced that about 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers will be brought in over the next 3 years to meet the demands of employers from various sectors, including 500,000 this year
"We expect to sign the agreement in the month of Syawal (after July 17) in Dhaka. These workers will be involved in various fields, especially in the plantation sector and will meet the demands of the job market in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.
"However, this initiative only involves fresh workers from Bangladesh. Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants working here are not involved and we will continue to deport them," he said in Malacca today.
9. At the height of the Rohingya migrant crisis in July 2015, Zahid Hamidi expressed his disappointment at the international community for blaming countries who are refusing to accept anymore refugess and urged them to help provide a solution instead
"It is disappointing when the global community reacts in this way. They should be helping to search for a solution. Instead, they blame the country which gives protection (to refugees) as if we condone human trafficking activities," he said after a buka puasa ceremony at the Simpang Renggam prison.nst.com.my